Many clients that contact The Sound Learning Centre have volumes of reports detailing the diagnoses by health and educational professionals or authorities. These diagnoses will often be one or more ‘labels’, such as Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Hyperactive, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Asperger’s Syndrome, Autism or Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Auditory Processing Disorder (ASD) or Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD), Sensory Integration Dysfunction (SID) or Developmental Delay to suggest just a few.
Many people will have multiple (co-morbid) diagnosis or labels. There seems to be a whole industry in generating new ones. However, these all-encompassing catch-all diagnoses can never adequately describe the way a person experiences day-to-day life.
A Diagnosis or Label – A Start Not the End
For many people it can be a blow to come home with such a diagnosis, thinking that they suddenly have been ‘re-classified’ as being disabled in some way. However nothing actually changed in the individual between having and not having a diagnosis. For some people, an official diagnosis or label may provide some clarity and help explain why they have so often struggled and it may also form the basis of obtaining additional support from health, educational or local authorities. However labels and formal diagnosis can also lead to false judgements of capability and limiting expectations.
Unfortunately it is rare that practical ways forward are suggested when a diagnosis is made, so that people are often left on their own to find ways to cope better in life. Whilst many of these conditions have been classified as ‘life-long’ and ‘incurable’, this should not be interpreted as ‘cannot be helped’. The concepts behind ‘Brain Plasticity’ provide strong support for techniques and therapies to retrain the brain to improve performance.
Sensory Systems Influence Performance and Can Be Helped
At The Sound Learning Centre we do not diagnose such conditions, but we do test and observe actual behaviour and sensory responses because how well the sensory systems function individually, and co-ordinate with each other, will directly affect our performance. How we perform determines the diagnosis or label that may be given. It follows that if we can improve sensory performance and sensory integration then it should be possible to both improve performance and even influence whether a particular label is still valid.
Sensory integration problems result from the inability to balance the senses appropriately. Many individuals with functional difficulties are highly attuned or even painfully sensitive to certain sounds, textures, tastes, and smells. Others are particularly undersensitive. Clearly these sensory abilities will affect how an individual engages with the world. We look in great detail at the hearing, vision and developmental maturity of a person and suggest ways in which specific areas can be helped or developed further.
From personal experience we know that changes in the way the senses receive and process external stimuli often lead to significant improvements and through this novel approach, ability, behaviour and performance can be changed. Thus we bypass the official diagnosis and tackle measurable and observable elements of the sensory systems in order to affect change beyond the label.
On the pages in this “Diagnosis” section of the website you will find links to more information on a number of key conditions such as Dyslexia, ADHD, Asperger’s Syndrome or Autism which limit performance and quality of life together with guidance on the sensory difficulties and behaviours that lie behind these particular conditions.
What can you do?
Inform yourself and learn as much as you can about the particular condition that has been diagnosed. Prepare yourself prior to seeing a professional by making a list of questions. If you come across jargon you do not understand, insist on a clear explanation in language you do understand. Ask for copies of test results. Compile a dossier with all notes and reports.
Most importantly, do not accept just a diagnosis, as that by itself does not help. It may help you identify the help needed but can also limit peoples expectations about what is achievable. Ask what can be done practically to improve daily life, what support they can offer and how to go about getting it.
Our experience at The Sound Learning Centre since 1994 is that non invasive therapies such as Auditory Integration Training, Lightwave Stimulation and a Reflex Developmental programme have great potential to help improve poor sensory performance and integration associated with labels and diagnosis such as Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Hyperactive, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Asperger’s Syndrome, Autism or Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Auditory Processing Disorder (ASD) or Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD), Sensory Integration Dysfunction (SID) or Developmental Delay and thus improve general performance.